Let's face it: Heading to an animated movie these days is a bit of a crapshoot. Studios are trying so hard to appeal to both kids and adults while simultaneously chasing the 3-D fad that the end result can be a mess-by-committee.
Which is why we are so happy with "Megamind," the new animated blockbuster from DreamWorks; not only is the film cool, it's cool in a way that all too few animated features can claim -- it's even cooler for adults than it is for kids.
Here are six reasons "Megamind" will appeal to the 18 and-over crowd -- prepare to have your mind blown:
1. The Stars: Remember the famous line from Jessica Rabbit in "Roger Rabbit," "I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way?" Well, the stars of "Megamind" aren't just drawn that way, they're actually badass in real life: Will Ferrell, Tina Fey and Jonah Hill are as formidable a comedy lineup as you're going to find, animated or not. And a self-deprecating Brad Pitt to boot? Now that's some serious star power.
2. The Satire: Look, we love superhero movies as much as the next incredibly cool web site, but we have to admit that they're getting a bit self-serious. No offense, Christian Bale. That's why we love "Megamind." Like "The Incredibles" before it, "Megamind" reminds everyone that comic books -- and comic book movies -- are supposed to be fun. That's a message we will always get behind.
3. The Wit: One of the best things about a well-done animated comedy is the fact that, since the actors have to convey all the humor and emotion using just their voices, the scripts need to be razor-sharp in order to really work well on screen. And "Megamind" certainly doesn't disappoint, with quips and one-liners that come so fast you might need superpowers yourself in order to keep on top of the humor.
4. The Pedigree: Quick history lesson: "Despicable Me" was one of the most popular movies of the summer. Pretty cool flick, right? Well, "Megamind" not only shares "Despicable Me" villain-finds-redemption theme, it also shares the same visual aesthetic, including excellent use of 3-D. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
5.The Subtext: Hollywood rom-coms are so filled with meet-cute moments and contrived romances that we've just about given up on finding any kind of actual "adult" relationships in movies. Yet here, darned if "Megamind" doesn't subtly offer a complex and, yes, real take on boy-meets-girl in the feelings that develop between Megamind (Ferrell) and Roxanne Ritchi (Fey). Score one for subtext.
6. Nostalgia: Anyone who has seen the trailer for "Megamind" can immediately see the riffs on the Superman mythos -- anyone who is, you know, over 18, that is. Because let's face it, kids just aren't going to have much of a clue that Roxanne Ritchi is a stand-in for Lois Lane or that Metro Man is Superman. That's because "Megamind" turns the usual animated formula on its head -- it's not a kids' film with jokes for adults, it's an adult film with jokes for kids. So for once, if you really want to get what a cartoon is saying, you're going to need to be all grown up. Which leads to our final reason...
The Bottom Line: Animation isn't just for kids anymore. Those days are long past; heck, some of the biggest blockbusters of the last decade -- like "The Lord of the Rings," "Transformers" and "Avatar" -- have so much computer animation that they are more cartoon than live-action film anyway. "Megamind" is just the latest proof that old clichés about cartoons being for kids are just that: old and clichéd. So the real question isn't "why would "Megamind" appeal to adults" -- it's "why wouldn't it?"